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Robert Michael Spink (born 1 August 1948, Haworth, Worth Valley, Yorkshire) is a politician in the United Kingdom who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Castle Point in Essex for two periods between 1992 and 2010.


Bob Spink
Member of Parliament
for Castle Point
In office
8 June 2001 – 12 April 2010
Preceded byChristine Butler
Succeeded byRebecca Harris
In office
10 April 1992 – 4 April 1997
Preceded byBernard Braine
Succeeded byChristine Butler
Personal details
Born (1948-08-01) 1 August 1948 (age 70)
Haworth, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
NationalityBritish
Other political
affiliations
Conservative (until 2008)
UKIP (2008, 2014- )
Spouse(s)Janet Barham (divorced)
Alma materVictoria University of Manchester, Cranfield University
ProfessionMember of Parliament
WebsiteBob Spink MP

Spink was elected as the Conservative Party MP for Castle Point in 1992, lost his seat in 1997, but regained it in 2001. Having resigned the Conservative whip in March 2008, in April 2008 he defected to the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), becoming that party's first MP. In November 2008 he was redesignated as an Independent, on the grounds that UKIP had no 'whip'.[1] Spink lost his seat in the 2010 election to the Conservative candidate, Rebecca Harris.

He subsequently rejoined UKIP.[2] In 2017, he was convicted of four counts of electoral fraud,[3] and was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, in January 2018.[4]

Contents

Early lifeEdit

He was educated at Holycroft Secondary Modern School (now a primary school) on Victoria Road in Keighley and Southall Technical College.[citation needed] At the University of Manchester, he gained a BSc Hons (1st) in 1972. At Cranfield University, he gained an MSc in Industrial Engineering and Administration in 1975 and PhD in Economics and Management in 1988.

He joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1964, and until 1966 did his Basic Training at RAF Cosford and RAF Uxbridge, being invalided. He was an engineer for EMI Electronics Ltd from 1966-77 in Hayes and gained an Ordinary National Certificate (ONC) from Southall Technical College in 1969 when on day-release, then became an Industrial Management Consultant in 1977 for Harold Whitehead and Partners. From 1980-4, he was Director of Seafarer Navigation International Ltd (eventually bought by Standard Communications)[5] in Bournemouth and, from 1989 to 1993, he was a non-executive Director of Bournemouth International Airport. From 1984 to 1993, he was a management consultant. From 1997 to 2001, he worked for Harold Whitehead in Windsor. He was a county councillor in Dorset from 1985 to 1992.

Parliamentary careerEdit

In April 2005, ahead of the general election Spink took out an anti-immigration advert in the local Yellow Advertiser newspaper reading "What bit of 'send them back' don't you understand Mr Blair?" His rival for the constituency, the Labour candidate Luke Akehurst, said: "This advertisement contains appalling comments that whip up racial tension and fear to win votes. It is reminiscent of the worse utterances of Enoch Powell. The Tory leadership should disown it."[6] Spink won the election, increasing his share of the vote by 3.7% compared to a 3.1% Labour to Conservative swing nationally.

On 12 March 2008, Spink announced to the UK House of Commons that he had resigned the Conservative Party Whip due to "criminal and other irregularities" in his constituency.[7]

On 21 April 2008, Spink became the first member of Parliament for the United Kingdom Independence Party, saying that "positive and sensible co-operation with the EU does not require us to sell the British people down the river or to give our independence away".[8] He later found himself at odds with his new-found colleagues over the issue of whether or not to extend the amount of time a suspect can be detained without charge from 28 to 42 days. He voted for the bill, but UKIP opposed it.

Following the arrest of the Shadow Immigration Minister, Damian Green, and the searching of Green's House of Commons office on suspicion of "procuring misconduct in public office" for passing leaked Government documents to journalists, the House of Commons debated whether it was right that the police should be given access to an MP's office and to remove his computers and constituency correspondence. Spink voted with the Government, and against the position set out by the UKIP leadership, on both the Government's motion and an amendment tabled by backbench MPs. The amendment, which would have meant that the committee looking into whether correct procedures had been followed, was defeated by 4 votes.

In 2009, he tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) to ban the British Humanist Association atheist bus campaign posters from appearing on public transport. The EDM attracted 12 signatures.[9]

He is opposed to abortion and supports the reintroduction of capital punishment. He is against research into animal chimeras and refers to those involved in or supporting human bioengineering as "dark forces".[10]

In March 2010, Spink confirmed he was encouraging candidates to stand in local elections under the label "Independent Save Our Green Belt".[11] At the 2010 General Election, he stood as an Independent, but made it clear that he was supporting UKIP. UKIP aided his election campaign and he gained 27% of the vote, but lost Castle Point to the Conservative Rebecca Harris. In 2014, he rejoined UKIP.

Electoral fraudEdit

In January 2018, Spink was given a six month suspended prison sentence with 150 hours community service and ordered to pay £5,000 costs, for electoral fraud. He had tricked elderly and infirm constituents into signing election nomination forms which they believed were petitions. They did not know they were to nominate a UKIP candidate or that Spink represented UKIP. Sentencing, Judge Ian Graham said, "This sort of offending undermines the working of democratic structures in this country. The democratic process depends on the good faith of those who engage in it, because a lot of what happens is of course quite difficult to police."[12]

Personal lifeEdit

He married Janet Barham; they have three sons and a daughter. They have since divorced.[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Sarah Calkin, "Tory? UKIP? Now I'm just an inde says MP Bob", Echo, 7 March 2009
  2. ^ "Former MP Bob Spink to represent UKIP for Essex Police and Crime Commissioner election". Harlow Star, 31 October 2015
  3. ^ "Bob Spink found guilty of election fraud", BBC News, 1 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Bob Spink handed suspended sentence over election fraud", BBC News, 5 January 2018. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Standard Communications". Archived from the original on 14 May 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2007.
  6. ^ Nicholas Watt "Tory candidate under fire for 'send them back' asylum ad", The Guardian, 14 April 2005. Retrieved on 22 April 2008.
  7. ^ "Deselection row MP leaves Tories". BBC News. 12 March 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  8. ^ "UKIP welcomes its first MP". Archived from the original on 26 April 2008. Retrieved 22 April 2008.
  9. ^ Spink, Bob (1 December 2009). "British Humanist Association Advertisements On Public Transport". Early Day Motions. Parliament. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  10. ^ https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/vo060525/debtext/60525-0014.htm |chapter-url= missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). commons. 25 May 2006. col. 1706.
  11. ^ "MP Spink launches Save Our Green Belt party", Echo, 14 March 2010
  12. ^ "Bob Spink handed suspended sentence over election fraud", BBC News, 5 January 2018
    - Nina Massey, "Bob Spink guilty: Former Tory and Ukip MP handed six-months suspended jail sentence for tricking elderly people", The Independent, 5 January 2018
  13. ^ Bob Spink Biography, Epolitix.com. Archived from the original

External linksEdit